I was sitting next to a 30-something Indian-looking gentleman, who went by the name of Chandra. He was reading the paper's lead story about a Thai temple that was built from empty beer bottles.
"A Buddha-wiser temple" read the five-column headline, though it did have a qualifier saying that actually the 1.5 million bottles were more Heineken than Budweiser. The temple is run by Abbot San Kataboonyo in Khun Han, some 645 kilometres north of Bangkok.
I told Chandra that I came from Thailand - not Taiwan or Toyland as some people like to think - but the country that produced this temple of bottles.
He looked at me and exclaimed: "Really, is it the same country that has shut down airports?"
I replied: "Yes."
He smiled and shot back: "Brilliant!"
Come to think of it, British newspapers are so much fun to read because they are packed with human-interest stories and scandals, including weird, bizarre tales that produce endless oohs and aahs.
After all, the Brits love reading about themselves doing great or not-so-great things. On a daily basis, each newspaper contains several stories about famous, not-so-famous and even ordinary folks who either got lucky or suffered bad luck by being in the wrong place at the wrong time (especially those poor British tourists who were stuck at Suvarnabhumi Airport in November).
Each British paper has a penchant for picking up stories that attract regular readers. For instance, the Daily Mirror on Thursday had a dozen or so human-interest stories ranging from a boy being eaten by a crocodile to a father battering his wife to death and then throwing himself under a train and a phoney MI5 spy stealing £14,000 from his girlfriend.
This week, however, two stories dominated the news - the fate of Sir Allen Stanford, the billionaire who bankrolled the English cricket team by allegedly running a huge international hedge fund (the British version of Madoff) and the life of Jade Goody on reality TV show "Big Brother".
Both leads received much attention on TV as well.
The Brits often marvel about how some of them are capable of doing such things - be they evil or good. In the case of Jade, who made a name for herself by making questionable remarks on a reality TV show, she is getting married knowing full well that she only has a few months to live.
TV audiences have been mesmerised by her plight and the future of her two children and will be glued to their sets as her future unfolds.
However, the Brits get angry too, and the most recent reason was the comments made by Howard Schultz, chief executive of the Seattle-based Starbucks, who said the British economy was in a spiral.
Rubbing more salt into the wound, he added that consumer confidence in Britain was "very, very poor".
So, thanks to secretary of state Lord Mandelson's temper, the British press had a field day reporting his four-letter-word tirade. Everybody knows that the world's economy is down and nobody is going to spend £2 on a latte (it costs about Bt100 here).
For the Brits, any condescending remark from across the Atlantic just cannot be tolerated. So every Brit is up in arms and supporting Mandelson's strong comments. Luckily, Starbucks came out with a conciliatory statement.
Therefore Thais should not be surprised or get too excited when the British press plays up news on Thailand's political, economic and social conditions. At the end of last year, some British papers called Thailand one of the most dangerous places in the world, on a par with the countries liked Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
Of late, Thailand's lese-majeste cases are being widely reported in the British media. In the UK, while Queen Elizabeth is well loved and respected by a large portion of society, it does not shield her and her family from the watchful and critical eyes of the media. In fact, Prince Harry's mischievous behaviour both inside and outside the country over the years has been a staple of the tabloids.
The British monarchy has handled negative news very well.
Any misleading information, including that about Prince Harry, is usually explained and in many cases rebuffed.
Indeed, no issues or topics are outside the purview and reach of British journalists. Every day the tabloids and broadsheets compete to publish stories that will attract the most readers. Londoners are lucky to have at least four free tabloids. Metro and City AM are for morning commuters, while London Lite and Londonpaper are wooing the evening crowds heading home or to the pub. In other words, these evening tabloids provide the necessary news headlines before the next day.
When Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva visits London from March 12 to 13, the British press will see the Obama of Asia in person. A columnist in the Financial Times recently wrote a profile of him saying, tongue-in-cheek, that Abhisit, or "Veggie" as he was called by his friends during his days in Eton, had the qualifications to become a British premier.
That explains why he and British PM Gordon Brown got on so well at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
As the host of G-20 Summit, Brown also invited Abhisit, in his capacity as the Asean chair, to attend this exclusive meeting and help solve the global credit crunch. He will return to London again on April 2 to attend the G-20 summit.
On both occasions, Abhisit will be under the glare of the British press without any mercy.
Obamark, be prepared.